Preparing for an interview? Wondering where to start?
The interview process is never easy, but preparing in advance can help you feel more confident and relaxed and help you give more thoughtful responses.
Having recently gone through a church interview (and gotten the job - yay!), I thought it might be helpful to share a bit of my process - how I prepared, questions I asked, responses I thought through, and things I reminded myself about in the moment.
Everyone's process is a little different, but here are a few things that helped me:
5 Helpful Tips for a Successful Interview
Do your homework. If you know who you will be meeting with, see what you can learn about them beforehand. Read through the content on the church website. Learn more about their history and programs.
Write down a few questions. Most of the time, you will have an opportunity to ask questions at the end of (and sometimes, throughout) the interview. Make sure you have a few questions prepared. You may have your own, more specific questions to ask, but here are a few ideas for other, more general questions:
1. What is a typical worship service like?
2. What is your favorite thing about this church?
3. What traditions are important to this congregation?
4. How do you handle weddings and funerals at the church?
5. How do you plan for worship?
6. Are there other special services or events throughout the year that I should plan for?
Review your resume and cover letter. Think about follow-up questions they may ask about your experiences and be ready with the details. Every interview is different, but it's good to be prepared. Consider what your responses might be to these questions:
1. Talk about a time when you had to overcome a challenge in your work.
2. Talk about some of the rewards and challenges you've faced of collaborating with staff members.
3. Why would you be a good fit for this position?
4. What are some of your go-to choices for repertoire?
5. What experience do you have with (hymn-playing, instrumental accompanying, choral accompanying, playing by ear, improvising, directing bells, etc.)?
6. What leadership qualities do you look for in a pastor (and music director, if applying for an organist or associate position)?
Pick out your clothes in advance. Maybe this is a girl thing, but it helps me to decide on an outfit the night before, rather than waiting until it's time to get ready. This also gives you time to make sure everything is clean and pressed.
Smile and make eye contact. Remember, as qualified as you may be for the position, you'll also (likely) be working with other staff members. Be friendly and courteous; smile and make eye contact when you shake hands, when they ask you a question, and when you give a response.
Other helpful resources
How do you prepare for an interview? Any helpful words of advice? Please share them in the comments!